Dimitar Berbatov believes Manchester United will be making a HUGE mistake if they decide to cash in on Paul Pogba this summer.
And the former Tottenham Hotspur striker believes he has identified the next Virgil van Dijk and urged United to sign him.
Reports on Friday evening from the UK and the continent claimed Paul Pogba had agreed a move away from Old Trafford and that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was struggling to deal with his attitude.
Although the Norwegian insists this is not the case, the World Cup winner’s continued lack of respect and remarks about a ‘dream’ move to Real Madrid are likely to have caused discontent in the dressing room.
However, Berbatov is admant the £89million man can rediscover his early form under Solskjaer and lead the Red Devils to glory.
The once mercurial striker old The Sun: “Why is Pogba the problem?
“They criticise some players more than others, which is unfair. You cannot escape criticism in one form or another — we all have phones and are on social media.
“Even if you are mentally strong the critics can get in your head. But when everyone is attacking you, we are all humans so it can affect your game.
“He’s not a robot, but if you don’t feel appreciated, what do you do? Go somewhere else.
“But leaving would be a mistake. I really hope Ole will tell Pogba he will build the team around him to give him the confidence to perform at his best.
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“I have first-hand experience of how good Pogba can be when he trained with us as kid and he is a good boy as well.
“Pogba needs to know he has a player to cover his back, he needs to have the freedom to make decisive passes. It doesn’t matter if he makes mistakes as he is trying difficult passes.”
The 38-year-old was at the Manchester derby on Wednesday evening and dismayed to witness first hand the gap between United and their bitter city rivals.
In order to bridge that chasm, the Bulgarian believes Solskjaer must find his own version of Virgil van Dijk.
“Ole needs a centre-back who can control the ball, pass into midfield and not be intimidated — just like Van Dijk,” he added.
“If I am a striker with Van Dijk in my team, I know it will be OK. They need someone like that.”
And the striker, who won two Premier League titles at Old Trafford, reckons they should battle Barcelona for Ajax’s 19-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt.
He continued: “For a player so young, De Ligt’s performances are incredible.
“He’s mature, comfortable on the ball, and he is not bothered who he plays against — Ronaldo or whoever. He doesn’t care, he just plays his own game.
“He moves with grace and doesn’t panic on the ball. He has everything you want from a defender.
“That guy will be an unbelievable player. He’s a great talent and I hope United go for him in the summer and get him.”